THE BUSY BEES
The creator and owner of Bee Mindful, Nathalie is most happy spending time with her bees, nurturing them without the use of any pesticides in the hives, the most common practice used by 95% of beekeepers today to keep pests at bay. She is a firm believer that treatment-free bees are much more resilient and healthy than treated bees, and therefore more able to thrive in the face of pests and pathogens.
Nathalie is a professional educator and passionate advocate of Natural Beekeeping methods.
She has created and volunteers daily at the Hays County Beekeepers Association (HCBA). Ove the last few years, she has volunteered hundreds of hours to lead HCBA and the Travis County Beekeepers Association (as President and Vice-President), and regularly contributes to the Austin Area Beekeepers Association and the Texas Beekeepers Association.
She has also created, managed, benevolently taught at and donated time and equipment to several community outreach programs, including:
The Community First! Village beekeeping training program to help formerly chronically homeless residents to make a dignified income while forging human connections with local beekeepers
The HCBA Youth Scholarship program that mentors young people in beekeeping and awards them with their own hive and bees
The School Hive Program which installs hives on recipient school campuses and trains educators in caring for their bees
The FAM Shamba Ya Amani community of Women and Youth refugees of the Congo
As a native French speaker and polyglot, she was recently hired by the Republic of the Congo government to design and lead their country-wide beekeeping training program for their network of local farming trade-schools, and has spent a major part of 2019 on-site working with African honey bees and setting up teaching apiaries while writing training manuals in French
Nathalie has an MBA from the Ohio-State University, and is a Texas A&M University Master Beekeeper, as well as resident expert on The Hive Jive podcast, where she hosts the Natural Beekeeping corner the first Monday of every month.
She started her beekeeping journey in 2011 with a single Waré hive, quickly progressing to becoming proficient at keeping bees in all kinds of different hives.
Warning: honey bees easily turn into an addiction, y'all!
Les is 55+ year veteran of the beekeeping world, and a widely recognized expert in natural beekeeping.
Throughout his career as a beekeeper, he has always looked for ways to eliminate toxic inputs in the hive, starting with antibiotics and now miticides. He has been keeping bees in Langstroth and Top-Bar Hives his entire life, both as a hobby and as a business.
Earlier in his career, he worked for a business with 4,000 hives in New Mexico, and was the President of the New Mexico Beekeepers Association multiple times.
He also was a honeybee inspector there for 5 years.
A true honey bee expert and whisperer, he has been teaching highly popular natural beekeeping classes domestically and abroad for over 35 years (both in English and Spanish), and has written the world-renowned book “Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health”, which has sold and continues to be sold all over the world
Les has a degree in biology from the University of New Mexico.
The Honey Bees
Always kept organically and 100% treatment-free, most of the bees in the Honey Farms are either rescued from cutouts or swarms looking for a home and rehabilitated for at least a year before being used for production.
Others are mindfully grown from natural splits, leveraging the natural swarming instinct (the way a colony reproduces in the wild) for a more mindful, sustainable growth.
Unlike other local beekeepers, we never purchase to resell bees that were used by commercial beekeepers and treated.
Our Queens are from locally grown, naturally mite and disease resistant survivor stock bees. They are raised without any chemical or organic treatments ever, and are adapted to the natural cycles of weather and forage of our Texas farms, making them more resilient and productive naturally.
Did you know that May 20th is World Bee Day?
Trivia 1: Charles Dadant, a famous French-American beekeeper, the inventor of the Dadant beehive, and one of the founding fathers of modern beekeeping, was born on May 20th.
Triva 2: That day is also the celebrated birthdate of Anton Janša from Slovenia, the first teacher of modern beekeeping, and the reason we now celebrate World Bee Day on May 20th: he was so talented that Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa appointed him headmaster at the world’s first beekeeping school.
How serendipitous then that, as a teacher of beekeeping classes, Nathalie's own birthday is also May 20th, World Bee Day, after the first teacher of modern beekeeping?
Maybe it was meant to" bee": I have been keeping bees naturally, and sustainably, without the use of chemicals and treatments in the hive, since 2013, as trained by Les Crowder, Natural Beekeeping guru and author of world renowned "Top-Bar Hive Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health".
I fell in love with honey bees when I was 8 years old, after writing a report on them and discovering how fascinating they were. When I started with my first colony many years later, I knew I wanted to provide my bees with a good environment, low on stress and toxic contaminants, which allows me to keep my bees healthier and minimize the amount of pesticides in my wax and honey.
Today, I only harvest surplus honey instead of feeding my bees sugar syrup, and handle my bees with utter respect and as mindfully as I can. I am not here to rob them from their precious resources to make a profit: I only want to learn from them, and only use what they no longer use or have a clear surplus of.
A teacher at heart, my goal is to bring awareness of how important honey bees and native bees are to the public and most specifically the young generations, as well as teach natural and sustainable beekeeping to all for healthier bees (and the nice benefit of having access to raw, unadulterated, local honey!).
Recently, I have had the great honor and privilege to welcome my dearest friend and world renowned beekeeping expert Les Crowder to join me in this ambitious effort, and together I hope that, with your help, we can change make the world a better place for humans and bees, one hive at a time!